Choose Iowa Dairy Innovation Grant Application Extended by Two Weeks

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced today that the deadline to apply for Choose Iowa Dairy Innovation Grant Program has been extended by two weeks, from February 9 at 12:00 p.m. to February 23 at 12:00 p.m. Initial interest in the grant program has been strong, however industry feedback expressed that a two week extension will provide more dairies with additional time to gather information to complete the application on

The Iowa Legislature authorized the grant program during the 2023 legislative session with the intent of helping smaller dairies and farmers increase on-farm dairy processing, reduce labor costs, and expand the selection of Iowa dairy products. The highly competitive grant will match up to $100,000 per project. The concept builds off the success of other recent Iowa cost-share grant programs, including the Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant and the Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Program, both of which are also aimed at increasing the availability of local food and boosting local processing capacity. The program has an initial overall budget of $750,000.

“The Choose Iowa Dairy Innovation Grant Program will help Iowa dairy farms cost-share the addition of new on-farm processing equipment or labor-saving technology, both of which will ultimately lead to the availability of more Iowa dairy products for consumers to enjoy,” said Secretary Naig. “Because this highly competitive grant will create more markets, more consumer choice, and more economic opportunities in rural Iowa, it should come as no surprise that the initial interest from dairy farmers has been very promising. This two-week deadline extension will ensure more farmers can gather the information they need to get a strong application submitted by February 23.”

The cost-share grants could, for example, help dairies invest in pasteurization equipment, processing vats, packaging and labeling products, robots, health monitoring, automated feeding systems or cleaning assistance. The program funds are not eligible to cover start-up costs, advertising, public relations, salary/benefits/wages, existing debt or any expenses incurred prior to awarding the grant.

The following are example scenarios that would be eligible for the cost-share grants:

  • Farmer A wants to purchase a $120,000 rotary cup filling machine to fill yogurt. Farmer A requests $60,000. Farmer A must have $60,000 of his own funding with either personal cash or financing to match.
  • Farmer B is purchasing health monitoring equipment for his herd for $65,000. Farmer B is requesting $32,500. Farmer B must have $32,500 in funding with cash or financing for the match.
  • Farmer C is purchasing two robotic milkers for $380,000. Farmer C can apply for up to $100,000. Farmer C must provide the remaining $280,000 to receive $100,000.

Successful applicants must be located in Iowa, have fewer than 50 employees, and be in good standing with pertinent regulatory agencies. Only dairies permitted and inspected by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship are eligible. Full details about the cost-share grant program, including financial matching requirements, application, eligibility and scoring are available on the Choose Iowa website.

Applications should be submitted through the online portal on the Choose Iowa website and are due by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, February 23, 2024. Grant recipients will be announced in April 2024. Questions about the Choose Iowa Dairy Innovation Fund Grant Program may be directed to Choose Iowa Director Beth Romer at